The UK Government has confirmed that people over 50-years-old and vulnerable young adults with underlying conditions will be offered the COVID-19 booster vaccine.
The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) said a third jab will protect those most at risk from severe illness.
According to the report, millions of vulnerable people – including care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals – will be able to book a top-up vaccination from as soon next week.
However, those eligible can choose to defer their booster until six months after their second dose, ensuring that the most vulnerable are a priority.
The latest data suggests that the Covid-19 vaccine offers significant protection against severe illness, with non-vaccinated people accounting for 99 per cent of all deaths involving Covid-19 in England in the first six months of 2021.
Separate research, published by Public Health England and Cambridge University, suggests vaccines have saved more than 112,300 lives in England.
Commenting on the announcement, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I have today accepted the advice from the independent experts at the JCVI to offer a booster vaccine to those most at risk.
“The booster programme will start next week thanks to the extensive preparations the NHS has already made to ensure booster jabs roll out as quickly as possible.
“I urge all those eligible to get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines as soon as they can, so you have the strongest possible protection over the winter months.”
The Department for Health and Social Care said the NHS will contact people directly to let them know when it is their turn to get their third vaccination.
In most cases, vulnerable people will also be able to get their flu vaccination at the same time.
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